August 2005 Anticrastination Tip Sheet

What's the opposite of Procrastination?

From Rita Emmett


Quote for August

Success is having what you want, happiness is wanting what you have.
--- anonymous


Catching You Up

Our 4-part "Vaporize Your Clutter" classes by phone are almost over and everyone seems to like this method of learning. Plus we're hearing reports that these teleseminars are extremely helpful in getting rid of clutter. I've been asked if we'll run these sessions again. We have no plans right now, but there has been an amazing possibility pop up.

In spite of the fact that everyone in our house seems to have graduated from "Clueless Tech", we have had an awesome breakthrough in technology. My husband, Bruce, has announced that there is a very likely chance that we will have CDs of these teleclasses available some day for sale to those of you who couldn't attend.

And for those of you who have in the past purchased our by-now-famous "blank CDs", we think we've solved that problem and will have words on these CDs that you can actually hear. If you still own one of our lovely silent CDs, just let us know and we will happily replace it with a product that has sound on it. Not as soothing as the silence but people tell us our CDs are more educational when you can hear something on them. What a concept!


Message from Rita

Many of you are helping children get ready to go back to school, and I've received several requests for tips on how to guide kids to break the procrastination habit. Here's a simple concept that's easy to teach a child, and might be a helpful reminder for adults to review also.

When children are overwhelmed, they experience the same feelings that many adults (maybe even you?) have been through --- that sense of: "There's so much to do, I don't know where to start." and "I have a million things to do and I can't do everything"

When your children are overwhelmed, teach them the "secret" of breaking down that overwhelming task into smaller parts, and then select one piece and start there.

When you have so much to do,
You think you can't get through it;
Break it into little chunks,
Then pick out one and do it.

If children are swamped with homework and don't know where to start, help them select just one subject. If it's spelling and they have to learn their words plus write each word in a sentence, explain that they have to select one of those two, and then start there.

Or perhaps the one thing they need to do it track down their text book, or the notebook with the assignment in it, or maybe simply a pen and some paper. When they start to look at homework as first one step, then another, it stops being so overwhelming.

Explain to them the concept of "A journey of ten thousand miles begins with but one single step." All they have to do is to figure out what that first single step is. These are things you think they should know, but most procrastinators don't.

Another example to give them: in cleaning a bedroom, perhaps start with clothes. Put the clean ones away where they belong, and the dirty ones in the laundry hamper. Next, put all the books away. It can be like a game, where each time they think of a different way to break the job into chunks. Maybe clean the dresser top first, then the bed, then the floor, or maybe start with one corner of the room, then another.

This simple trick helps children figure out how to get started when they are overwhelmed. And we all know that once we get started on something we've been putting off, the hardest part is over.